Tonya Papanikolas reporting With skyrocketing gas and food prices, the tight economy has Utahns looking at new ways to get a little extra cash, sometimes even if it means parting with sentimental items and family heirlooms. It's another sign of the country's economic squeeze. But how bad is it getting in Utah?
We called a lot of businesses today. Some stores told us they'd seen a decline in purchases, others said business was great. Then we talked to people downtown, many of whom said their spending habits haven't really changed much. But with all these rising prices, Utahns are trying to find ways to make sure their wallets aren't empty!
In tight economic times, Utahns are getting creative when it comes to making a little extra money. We found some people scrapping old gold or silver jewelry and coins for money.
Katie Higgins told us, "I just brought in some broken gold that has been in my jewelry box forever to see how much it's worth."
The owner of Cascade Refining, Craig N. Wright, says the economy is definitely affecting business. They have at least three times more customers now than a year ago. "When times are tight, people are, 'What can I do to raise a little money, to meet my next need? Repair the car?' We're glad we can help a little bit," he said.
Employee Erykah Ardis says even the types of items people bring in are changing. "Some people bringing in wedding rings, sometimes it's a couple that will bring in their wedding ring. People will bring in entire sets of silverware and stuff that's supposed to be handed down."
Not everyone has gotten to that point, though. And obviously many are still spending. The Gateway says its stores are doing great, andso are the restaurants. But some Utahns say they are trying to cut back.
Jeff Colemere says, "Definitely less travel than we have done in the past."
Mike Arveseth says, "Eat home a little bit more often, not eat out as much."
And Amanda Colemere told us, "I'm like wearing my maternity clothes as long as I can!"
We inquired about Utahns' spending habits in two exclusive Dan Jones polls for KSL and the Deseret News. About a third of those polled said they're spending more this year than last, and 31 percent say they're spending less; 43 percent say their spending habits have stayed about the same.
But those numbers change when people are asked how much they're spending on leisure and non-essential items. In that case, almost half say they're spending less than last year.